I heard someone say the other night that the more people get to know Barack Obama, the more they like him. That's surely true for me. Whatever doubts I had early on have faded away the more I hear him talk. Not only in prepared speeches, but in what he says when he's asked a question. On 60 Minutes I thought he was dazzling. And he gave the answers you'd want from our president: intelligent but human. Thoughtful but real. Just what I think we need after enduring the past eight years. Not to mention that he has a sense of humor and not a goofy grin. Not to mention that his answers are always delivered in sentences and not in tortured gibberish too painful to even watch.
There is, however, one little defect about Barack Obama, which I think is worth mentioning now-- before he becomes president. We need something to call him--something when we don't want to say the full mouthful :" Barack Obama".
Every president seems to inherit a handle, whether from his family, from his past, or from the press.
Maybe the most common is to use their initials. But we definitely can't go there. That's a REAL problem.
Although having the initials B.O. is the ultimate proof that the guy is tough. Setting aside the fact that he's emerged victorious from a campaign against the Clintons, gritty political streetfighters-- how can anyone imagine that Obama, smooth and easy going, isn't tough enough after going through adolescence with the initials "B.O?"
But we're not in high school. As a country we don't have to be stuck with B.O.
The obvious answer, BHO, is not a good solution. Inserting the "H" will only remind people of his middle name, Hussein, which isn't destined to go over well in America. Plus we've just endured a president whose middle initial became an indelible part of him. And we don't need, in any possible way, another "Dubya".
He could try separating his name: O'Bama. This provides the memorable and catchy moniker "BOB"--and in addition, the fact that it sounds Irish reinforces the comparison with John F. Kennedy.
Or we don't have to use his initials at all. If we can come up with a nice and friendly nickname. Like Ike. Obama went through his childhood known as Barry--but he dropped it. Apparently he felt he wasn't the nickname type. We might have to invent one for him. Because for anyone with fond memories of "Bubba", his current name isn't going to play any better at the bowling alley than Barack himself did.
I did come up with a nickname with some appeal, certain to endear him to those blue collar guys we desperately want to warm up to Obama. To make him into the guy they want to throw a friendly arm around while having a beer--just call him "Bar." Although that's also a problem , being the nickname for Dubya's mom, former First lady Barbara Bush. Nope, can't go there either.
I never had a nickname. And finding one for Obama is clearly not my strong suit. But I think we need one--before "B.O." catches on. So I thought I'd throw this problem out to America. Any ideas?